Al-Qaeda Ups Mafia-Style Extortion in Mosul

Over the past few months, as Al Qaeda has become stronger in Iraq again. Police reports indicate that over the past month, six journalists have been killed in Mosul following a spate of ISIS threats against any and all media. Other victims include the mayors of various districts in Mosul, one retired judge, one doctor, a number of real estate agents and dozens of police and army officers. Various properties have also been destroyed.

Up until relatively recently, all of the pharmacists in Mosul had been paying Al Qaeda between US$100 and US$200 every month. But then just a few days ago, the Al Qaeda representatives began to ask for more money, as much as US$20,000 per month. This has led to many pharmacists closing their doors, one local pharmacist told NIQASH. “And they’ve left the city and they’ve gone elsewhere – such as Erbil or Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan – or they’ve left the country.”

Apparently the same thing has happened to the owners of real estate agencies in Mosul. The amounts being asked for have increased significantly and 16 such offices closed because of threats their owners received. It is also thought that a number of communications offices, health clinics and grocery stores that closed recently, did so for similar reasons.

Meanwhile at Mosul’s universities, teaching staff were now also being targeted. One university professor recounted how he had been contacted and blackmailed into paying US$20,000 to people he didn’t know but who said they represented Al Qaeda in Iraq.

“Many of my colleagues have paid a lot of money because they were also threatened with assassination or members of their families were threatened,” the professor told NIQASH. “Some of them have already left the city. Others are seriously considering it now.”

Targeting various ethnicities – such as the Christians and the Shabaks – appears to indicate that the Sunni Muslim extremists are trying to make the area more purely Sunni Muslim.

So what will happen here next? According to Mosul locals, ISIS is already causing mass migration within various sectors of the local populace – for instance, over the past few weeks, after a series of letters threatening media personnel and several assassinations, many journalists have seen no option but to leave their homes in Ninawa and move elsewhere.

(Source: Niqash)

(Terrorism Image via Shutterstock)

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